Tag Archives: Paul Jones

Gerard Manley Hopkins songs on January 31st


Sarah Shafer (photo: Pete Checchia)

Delighted to report that soprano Sarah Shafer will sing my Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins January 31st, 2014, at 7:30 pm, on the concert series presented by Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. The concert is called “Voice & Verse,” and will feature settings of English poems by Donne, Milton, Herbert, Rossetti, and others. Tenth’s music director and producer of these concerts, Paul Jones, accompanies.

The concert will be available live online, also.

I was very fond of these songs when I wrote them, and don’t you know, I still like them. They have a bit of a convoluted history starting, as all good things in my life always start, with someone else, with someone else who is kind. And so it continues: Thank you, Paul, and thank you, Sarah.

Variations on a Theme of Schubert

Variations on a Theme of Schubert

Solo Piano, 17′ 

Solo Piano—2222—2100—timp, 1 perc—str. 17′. Full score

The theme is from Schubert’s song “An mein Klavier,” or “To my Piano.” Following the theme are seven variations, each exploiting significant intervals or rhythmic gestures of the song, and each making use of the tune in some way.

Variation 5 also quotes “Beneath the Cross of Jesus,” a favorite hymn of Samuel Hsu’s, the dedicatee of the original version for solo piano. In this variation, the middle register sings the first few notes of that tune, while the left hand assays the Schubert tune in the extreme low register, extremely slowly.

Variation 6 leads into the final variation without a break, and the Schubert tune is treated as a three-part invention, leading into a chorale.

The piano part in the solo and orchestral versions is the same.

The solo version premiered in 1997 by Paul Jones to honor the 25th Anniversary of Samuel Hsu’s professorship. The work was revised, and Variation 4 was added, in 1998/99; the orchestration was completed in August 1999, and premiered by the Jupiter Symphony in New York City on September 20th and 21st, 1999, with pianist Makiko Hirata, Jens Nygaard conducting.

American Spirituals, Book One

2006; violin, piano; 11′
Written for and recorded by David Kim, CD and score published by Paul Jones Music in the collection The Lord is My Shepherd.

1. Sinner, Don’t Let This Harvest Pass

Sinner, don’t let this harvest pass,
Sinner, don’t let this harvest pass,
Sinner, don’t let this harvest pass,
And die and go to Hell at last.

2. My Shepherd Will Supply My Need

My shepherd will supply my need;
Jehovah is his name:
In pastures fresh he makes me feed
Beside the living stream.
He brings my wandering spirit back
When I forsake his ways;
And leads me, for his mercy’s sake,
In paths of truth and grace.

3. The Old Ship of Zion

What ship is this that will take us all home?
O glory hallelujah!
And safely land us on Canaan’s bright shore?
O glory hallelujah!
’Tis the old ship of Zion, hallelu, hallelu;
’Tis the old ship of Zion, hallelujah!

American Spirituals, Books One and Two, in concert

My American Spirituals, Book One and American Spirituals, Book Two are joining Schubert and Bach on a concert Friday night at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. It’s Friday, January 21, 2011, 7:30 pm.

Philadelphia Orchestra Concertmaster David Kim will play Book One, and Pittsburgh  Symphony Orchestra Principal Cellist Anne Martindale Williams, Book Two, accompanied by Paul Jones. Philadelphia Orchestra members Rachel Ku and Joseph Conyers will also solo in the first half, and everyone will come together in the second half for Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet.

I wrote these works for David and Anne as part of a project spearheaded by Paul, and they’ve also recorded them.

More information here.

Psalm 113

The Temple University Concert Choir sang my Psalm 113 last night, the second time this section of Vespers has been performed separately. The first time was when I transcribed it for mezzo-soprano soloist, two-part girlchoir, and piano. Lyric Fest commissioned that transcription as part of Two Laudate Psalms, for Suzanne DuPlantis and the Pennsylvania Girlchoir.

Psalm 113 is originally for S.A.T.B. with two sackbuts and harp. Here’s an excerpt:

I made a piano reduction of all of Vespers, and it’s with this piano accompaniment that Paul Jones conducted the Temple forces. It was wonderfully done. I was touched by how much the singers said they enjoyed it, and by how much Paul had them floating on top of the chant rhythms.

Also on the concert were works of Palestrina, Monteverdi, Carissimi, Duruflé, and the Schicksalslied of Brahms. Three of the supple Partsongs of Gerald Finzi stood out to me. Their brilliance reminded me of “All this night,” which I sang way back in high school, and I am always surprised at how astonishing his music is. I suppose it’s silly, always to be surprised by the same thing.

But doesn’t Spring always do that, too?

“Wake, O earth, wake everything!”